In an unprecedented move, the European Parliament on Thursday passed by majority vote a call for the immediate release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.
Members of parliament from across the political spectrum signed on to a letter to European Union foreign policy chief Lady Catherine Ashton ahead of her visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories next week.
The letter demands that Shalit, who also holds French citizenship, be released and voices protest against the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.
Noam Shalit, the father of the abducted soldier, called the letter sharp and clear and said he hoped that it would encourage the Israeli government to work toward his son's release and the Hamas government to submit its response to Israel's offer at once.
The elder Shalit met Wednesday in Strasbourg, France, with European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek and updated him on the stalled negotiations with Hamas on a potential prisoner exchange. Hamas has not responded to Israel's most recent proposal.
Shalit urged for the EU resolution to call for the immediate release of his son and to demand that he be treated according to the Geneva Convention.